The world’s greatest compact grocery getter?

Introduced in 1999, the Audi RS4 placed itself at the top of Audi’s compact car lineup. With a sportier, more aerodynamic exterior, exclusive features on the inside, and a more powerful engine, the RS4 quickly became a solid competitor for the BMW M3. However, unlike BMW, Audi also built a wagon version a created a brand-new niche for performance grocery getters. The RS4 Avant become such an important car in the Audi lineup, that the third-generation RS4 didn’t even get a sedan version. Come 2017 and a brand-new generation RS4 arrived, also introduced with an Avant variant only.

Essentially a beefed-up version of the latest A4 wagon, which already sports Audi’s new design language with more angular features, the RS4 Avant gained a brand-new engine that smaller, but more potent than the outgoing unit. The new performance wagon is also lighter than its predecessor, which had quite a few issues when compared to the awesome Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. All told, Audi finally has a proper competitor for the souped-up Merc and we will find out what it brings to the table in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Audi RS4 Avant.

  • 2018 Audi RS4 Avant
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    450
  • Torque @ RPM:
    443
  • Displacement:
    2.9 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.1 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    100000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.7/10

Official video

Exterior

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Paired with the more angular line of new A4, the new features give the RS4 Avant a decidedly more aggressive stance

Up front, the wagon gained the RS-style honeycomb grille, as well as the "quattro" lettering underneath the license plate, an "RS4" badge, and a sportier bumper with larger air vents. Both the Singleframe grille and the intakes have the RS-specific honeycomb grille. Paired with the more angular line of new A4, these features give the RS4 Avant a decidedly more aggressive stance. The Matrix LED headlamps with tinted bezels are optional.

Onto the sides, the wagon received slightly beefier fenders, which are 1.2 inches wider, RS-style mirror caps, new 19-inch, forged aluminum wheels (20-inch rollers are optional), and sportier side skirts. Also, the car has been lowered by 0.3 inches for enhanced dynamics.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
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Around back, the RS4 Avant is identical to the standard model above the bumper

Around back, the RS4 Avant is identical to the standard model above the bumper, save for the roof spoiler of course, but it features a sportier diffuser down below. The large, oval exhaust pipes and the "RS4" badge on the tailgate round off the rear fascia.

Audi also introduced a new paint option for the wagon. It’s called Nogaro Blue, it features a pearl effect, and the Germans claim that it recalls the first-generation Avant from 1999. Nogaro Blue is an Audi Exclusive option, so don’t expect to find it in the standard configurator.

New Audi RS4 vs. Old Audi RS4

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2013 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2013 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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Interior

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Interior
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The front seats are of the RS Sport variety, which means there's solid bolstering for spirited driving

As usual, most of the RS4’s interior is black. Audi says that this "underscores the sporty character" of the car, but I’m not really a big fan. I mean, just check out Ferraris and Lamborghinis with red and brown interiors. They seem pretty sporty to me. But hey, this black interior thing is somewhat of a tradition for Audi RS right now and I don’t think it will change anytime soon. At least you can get light-colored leather for the seats and door panels and grey carbon trim for the dashboard and center console.

The front seats are of the RS Sport variety, which means there’s solid bolstering for spirited driving. An optional honeycomb pattern on the seating surface can be ordered. The seats and the door panels aren’t the only features covered in leather. The flat-bottomed, RS-style steering is also dressed in hide, complemented by white stitching and an "RS" badge. The latter can also be seen on the shift gate and the standard illuminated door sills. Finally, the RS-specific display in the instrument cluster indicates g-forces, tire pressure and torque on top of the usual A4 Avant information.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant AutoShow High Resolution Interior
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant AutoShow High Resolution Interior
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Options include a couple of styling packages that add carbon-fiber with aluminum or black accents. As usual, the Audi Exclusive program covers just about any other special request. As long as you have a fat wallet, that is!

Drivetrain

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Drivetrain
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Arguably the biggest change here is the engine, with the previous 4.2-liter V-8 having been replaced by a 2.9-liter V-6

Arguably the biggest change here is the engine, with the previous 4.2-liter V-8 having been replaced by a 2.9-liter V-6. Twin-turbocharged unit is brand-new and cranks out 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower is identical to the previous powerplant, but torque increased by a whopping 126 pound-feet.

As a result, and also due to the fact that the new RS4 is 176 pounds lighter, the redesigned wagon needs only 4.1 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start. That’s a half-second quicker than the previous model and a solid improvement. It’s also a tenth-second quicker than the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate and as quick as the C63 S version, which comes with 503 horsepower on tap, 53 horses more than the RS4 Avant. Top speed remains locked at the usual 155 mph, but the optionalRS Dynamic package lifts the limited to 174 mph.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Drivetrain
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Horsepower is identical to the previous powerplant, but torque increased by a whopping 126 pound-feet

Granted, some of you might be upset that Audi no longer offers a V-8, but these performance gains make the 4.2-liter unit seem obsolete. And besides, you can’t quote tradition here, because the first-generation RS4 Avant was actually powered by a 2.7-liter V-6. So it’s more of a back to the roots thing.

As before, the engine mates to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, but both have been upgraded for the new-generation wagon. Optionally, the RS4 Avant can be equipped with a rear sport differential.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Drivetrain
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Drivetrain
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Average fuel consumption is rated at 8.8 liters per 100 km

Average fuel consumption is rated at 8.8 liters per 100 km. This converts to 26.7 US mpg, but there’s no EPA rating yes since Audi has yet to announce whether the RS4 Avant will come to the U.S.. What we know for a fact is that the new wagon boasts an efficiency gain of 17 percent over the previous model.

The standard sports suspension lowers the car by an additional 0.3 inches, but you can opt for the RS Sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control. Other high-performance options include ceramic brakes and RS dynamic steering.

New Audi RS4 Avant Old Audi RS4 Avant
Engine 2.9-liter V-6 4.2 liter V-8
Horsepower 450 HP 450 HP @ 8,250 RPM
Torque 443 LB-FT 317 LB-FT @ 4,000-6,000 RPM
0 to 62 mph 4.1 seconds 4.7 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph (174 mph with the RS Dynamic package) 155 mph

Prices

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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Pricing for the new RS4 Avant starts from €79,800 in Germany, which makes it by far the most expensive iteration of the A4 family. For reference, the RS4 Avant is sold with a €46,100 premium compared to the base A4 Avant. The high-performance wagon goes on sale this fall with deliveries scheduled to begin in early 2018. There’s no word on whether it will become available in the U.S., but if it does, expect it to cost at least $80,000 before options. Unfortunately, I don’t think Audi will sell the RS4 Avant in North America anytime soon.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate High Resolution Exterior
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Since BMW doesn’t offer a wagon version of the M3, the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate is basically the RS4 Avant’s only rival. Redesigned for the 2015 model year, the C63 Estate carries AMG’s new biturbo, 4.0-liter V-8, which it shares with the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT sports car, among other vehicles. The powerplant is available in two flavors. The one in the standard C63 cranks out 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which translate into a 0-to-62 mph sprint of 4.2 seconds. More power comes from the unit motivating the C63 S version, tuned to deliver 503 horses and 516 pound-feet. In this case, 62 mph comes in 4.1 ticks. Both versions have their top speeds limited to 155 mph. As exciting as the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate may sound, you won’t be able to buy it in the U.S., as the Germans aren’t too keen on selling it here. You’ll just have to settle for the larger AMG E63 S Wagon. If you’re among our lucky readers living in either Germany or the U.K., you can buy one from €77,766 and £61,260, respectively.

Read our full review of the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate.

History of the RS4 Avant

2018 Audi RS4 Avant
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Audi's first high-performance compact wagon was launched in 1994 as the RS2 Avant

Although the nameplate was officially launched in 2000, Audi’s high-performance compact is actually a bit older than that. The first model was launched in 1994 as the RS2 Avant. It was based on the Audi 80, which was the predecessor of the A4 we all know today. But unlike the RS4, the RS2 was co-developed with Porsche and even shared a few features with the 911. The 2.2-liter five-cylinder engine was also modified with help from Porsche. The RS2 was discontinued in 1995, after only 17 months in production.

It took Audi another five years to launch a new compact performance wagon. The RS4 Avant was born in 2000 and even though it was produced for only a couple of years, it became one of Audi’s most iconic models. Based on the B5-generation A4, the first RS4 Avant featured a 2.7-liter V-6 engine under the hood. The twin-turbo unit was good for 375 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of twist and needed only 4.9 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start.

2005 Audi RS4
- image 78528
In 2006, Audi replaced the original V-6 engine with a 4.2-liter V-8

The RS4 returned in 2006, this time around based on the B7-generation A4. Now sporting a more aggressive exterior, the RS4 Avant had a more powerful engine too. Audi replaced the V-6 with a 4.2-liter V-8. Sourced from the S4, it was modified in order to achieve a higher output of 414 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. The 0-to-62 mph sprint dropped to 4.8 seconds. This is the only generation that was available in different body styles, with Audi offering both a four-door sedan and a two-door convertible. The latter was replaced by the RS5 in the following years. Production of the second-gen RS4 lasted until 2008.

The third-generation model was launched in 2012 and lasted until 2015, being the longest-running RS4 yet. Unlike the previous version, the third-gen RS4 was a station wagon only. The 4.2-liter V-8 was kept under the hood, but with significant modifications and a higher output of 450 horsepower. Naturally, it was quicker too, needing 4.7 seconds to hit 62 mph. Around 7,000 units were built until the B8-generation A4 was discontinued to make way for a brand-new sedan.

Conclusion

2018 Audi RS4 Avant AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to high-performance compact executives with wagon rear ends, the RS4 Avant is arguably the car that started it all. It all began with the Porsche-prepped RS2 Avant of the mid-1990s, in an era when Mercedes-Benz did not offer an AMG-modified C-Class wagon officially. Since then Audi’s compact grocery-getter has evolved in many ways and kept its exclusive status with production cycles that rarely last longer than two years. And even though it has fallen behind its Mercedes-badged competitor in recent years in terms of power and torque, it remains one of the most desirable wagons on the market.

The fact that the RS4 Avant is among the vehicles that keeps frustrating U.S. customers by being missing from dealerships nationwide speaks volumes of its following on this side of the Atlantic. Although Audi might still refuse to bring the RS4 Avant stateside in 2017, the wagon will continue to live on as an outstanding machine. Even with the downsized engine and the boring, mostly black interior. Maybe it’s time for BMW to finally deliver a wagon version of the M3?

  • Leave it
    • * Not as powerful as the AMG C63 S Estate
    • * Likely won’t make it to the U.S.

References

Audi A4 Wagon

2016 - 2018 Audi A4 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Audi A4 Wagon.

Audi RS4 Avant

2013 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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Read more about the previous generation Audi RS4.

Updated History

Updated 02/17/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi RS4 Avant out for a new testing session, this time during cold winter conditions somewhere in Germany.

Updated 04/25/2016: The upcoming Audi RS4 was caught testing at the Nurburgring race track. Hit "play" to watch it in action next to a McLaren 570S.

Updated 04/11/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming RS4 Avant our for a new testing session. This time the prototype reveals more of its changes, including the revised front bumper with its bigger openings and the rear bumper featuring the big oval exhaust pipes.

Updated 10/29/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi RS4 Avant out driving around the roads of the Nürburgring. At a first look this appears to be a regular S4 Avant, but on a closer look you will notice wider fenders on all four corners, bigger wheels, while its still lacking the bigger brakes and drilled rotors. Still, its pretty clear that we are looking at the next RS4 Avant.

Spy Shots

March 28, 2017 - Audi RS4 Avant caught testing around the ’Ring

2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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February 17, 2017 - Audi RS4 Avant caught playing in the snow

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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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April 11, 2016 - Next Audi RS4 caught testing one more time

2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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October 29, 2015 - First testing session

2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi RS4 Avant Exterior Spyshots
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Press release

Audi Sport GmbH celebrates the world debut of the new Audi RS 4 Avant (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.8; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 200-199*) at the IAA 2017. It combines high performance with tremendous everyday usability. Its 2.9 TFSI engine with 331 kW (450 hp) and 600 Nm of torque makes it the sporty vanguard of the A4 family. The standard quattro drive distributes the power of the V6 biturbo to all four wheels.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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“The Audi RS 4 Avant is our RS icon with an incomparable history,” commented Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In common with all our RS models, it blends immense power output with superlative everyday utility. In China, the Audi RS 4 will provide fresh impetus for growth as the only high-performance Avant in its segment.”

Roof edge spoiler creates distinctive rear end
When creating the fourth generation of the Audi RS 4 Avant, the designers took inspiration from many motorsport details of the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO. Massive air inlets with typical RS honeycomb structure and the wide, flat Singleframe grille define the front end. The optional Matrix LED headlights display tinted bezels. Compared to the Audi A4 Avant, the wheel arches are 30 millimeters (1.2 in) wider and are given added emphasis by the quattro blisters. At the rear end, the RS-specific diffuser insert, the oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system and the RS roof edge spoiler make for a distinctive look. The exterior color Nogaro blue, pearl effect available optionally from Audi exclusive recalls the first generation of the high-performance Avant from 1999. The new Audi RS 4 Avant travels on 19-inch forged aluminum wheels as standard; 20-inch wheels are available as an option.

From 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds, RS sport suspension and Audi drive select as standard
The V6 biturbo develops 331 kW (450 hp) in the new Audi RS 4 Avant. Its peak torque of 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft) – 170 Nm (125.4 lb-ft) more than the previous model – is available across a broad engine speed range from 1,900 to 5,000 rpm. It is key to how the Audi RS 4 is able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The top speed is 250 km/h (155.3 mph). With the optional RS dynamic package, the top speed increases to 280 km/h (174.0 mph).

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Exterior
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The power of the 2.9 TFSI biturbo is supplied to the permanent all-wheel drive via a sportily configured eight-speed tiptronic with optimized gear changing. Audi also offers an optional rear sport differential. Average fuel consumption is 8.8 liters per 100 kilometers (26.7 US mpg) (199 grams of CO2 per kilometer [320.3 g/mi]). That is an efficiency gain of 17 percent over the previous model. The new Audi RS 4 Avant weighs 1,790 kilograms (3,946.3 lb) 80 kilograms (176.4 lb) less than previously.

The standard-fit RS sport suspension sets the Audi RS 4 Avant another seven millimeters (0.3 in) lower than the A4 basic model with sport suspension. By way of equipment options, there are RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), ceramic brakes and RS-specific dynamic steering. Drivers can define their own individual personal driving experience using the standard dynamic handling system Audi drive select.

Interior with sophisticated materials and digital racing-style cockpit
The black interior underscores the sporty character of the Audi RS 4 Avant. The RS sport seats with optional honeycomb pattern, the flat-bottomed RS leather multifunction sport steering wheel, the shift gate and the illuminated door sill trims are all adorned with the RS emblem. In the Audi virtual cockpit and head-up display, RS-specific displays indicate the g-forces, tire pressures and torque. The styling packages gloss black, carbon with aluminum attachments and carbon with black attachments provide further scope for customization. The Audi exclusive program covers just about any other special request.

2018 Audi RS4 Avant High Resolution Interior
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The Audi RS 4 Avant can be ordered from the fall onward, before arriving at dealers in Germany and other European countries from the start of 2018. The basic price will be EUR 79,800.

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